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[Bowen Press Exclusive] Xu Ming, the former chairman of the Dalian Shide Group and Dalian Shide Football Club, died in prison in Wuhan, Hubei Province on December 4, 2015. But his death wasn’t announced until December 6, after it was reported in Hong Kong and Taiwan media. On that day, China’s official media only ran a brief announcement of his death. The next day, this regulatory ban was circulated online: “All localities and web sites: Due to illness, former Dalian Shide Football Club Chairman Xu Ming died in prison. Strictly accord with central media in your reporting, do not independently speculate without authorization. Pay attention to deleting discussion critical of the central leadership.” This news service learned from a knowledgeable source that two hours before he supposedly died of a heart attack, Xu Ming was still running. A few hours after he died, his body was cremated. Rumors are rife that he was murdered.
On December 6, 2015, the mainland’s Tencent Finance’s “Prism” reported that it had confirmed from three sources including Xu Ming’s family that the founder of Dalian Shide Group had died in Wuhan on December 4 from a “heart attack.” Some Dalian Shide executives revealed that before this they had not heard that Xu Ming had any heart problems. Shide executives as well as informed sources close to Xu’s family said that when they heard news of Xu’s death they suspected foul play.
It was reported that Xu Ming’s sentence was set at four years, and that he would be released in 2016. Due to good behavior in prison he would be released early. The Beijing Youth Daily tweeted an article entitled “Deceased Before Released 44-Year-Old Xu Ming’s Five ‘Firsts.'” Simultaneously, Caixin Net also ran a report: “Deceased in Prison Dalian Shide Group Former Chairman Xu Ming Was Bo Xilai’s Principal Briber.” The above reports have all been deleted.
Some observers believe that these articles all refer to the same person—Dai Yongge.
Public reports reveal that Dai Yongge and Xu Ming are old friends, with connections going back to 2009. The “Prism” article said that from the end of 2014, news circulated in Dalian’s business circles that Xu Ming would return in 2015.
After Xu was arrested, the Dalian Shide Group’s monthly debt servicing cost was ¥100 million (US$15.43 million). For three years, Xu’s brother and “his most trusted person” repeatedly stepped in to lend assistance. Xu Ming’s “most trusted man” is Dai Yongge. Dai is the Harbin Renhe Group’s boss. In the October 2012 reorganization of the Shide Group, Dai became the new operating chief. Thus, Xu Bin completely took a back seat, and Dai Yongge’s team became Shide’s controlling party.
But it’s impossible to know if the above three articles were deleted due to their mentioning Dai Yongge. According to mainland censorship customs, related reports usually come from central news agencies. All large media organizations, even those on the “news white list,” must reprint these original articles.